OECD Environmental Performance Reviews

1990-0090 (online)
1990-0104 (print)
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OECD Environmental Performance Reviews provide independent assessments of countries’ progress towards their environmental policy objectives. Reviews promote peer learning, enhance government accountability, and provide targeted recommendations aimed at improving environmental performance, individually and collectively. They are supported by a broad range of economic and environmental data, and evidence-based analysis. Each cycle of Environmental Performance Reviews covers all OECD countries and selected partner economies.

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OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Germany 2012

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31 May 2012
9789264169302 (PDF) ;9789264169296(print)

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This OECD Environmental Performance Review provides an independent assessment of Germany’s progress in achieving domestic and international environmental policy commitments, together with policy relevant recommendations. It has been conducted to promote peer learning, to enhance countries’ accountability to each other and to the public, and to improve governments’ environmental performance, individually and collectively. These Reviews are supported by a broad range of economic and environmental data. Each cycle of the Environmental Performance Reviews covers all OECD member countries and selected partner countries
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  • Preface

    Over the last decade, Germany has continued to promote ambitious environmental policies. While experiencing robust economic growth during most of the 2000s, Germany has made further progress in reducing the carbon, energy and resource intensities of its economy, bringing down emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases, and improving waste and water management. In some areas, such as water and air quality and biodiversity, progress has nevertheless not been sufficient to reach domestic and international objectives. Overall, Germany’s environmental policies enjoy strong public support, and citizens are relatively satisfied with their environmental quality of life.

  • Foreword
    The principal aim of the OECD Environmental Performance Review programme is to help member and selected partner countries to improve their individual and collective performance in environmental management by...
  • General notes
  • Executive summary

    Germany is the third largest economy in the OECD. It experienced strong GDP growth and robust performance on many economic and social indicators during the 2000s. It has also been resilient to the global economic crisis. Along with economic and social progress, Germany has continued to play a proactive role in environmental policy within the European Union and internationally. It consolidated and further developed an already comprehensive environmental policy framework. There has been a shift from sector-specific to more comprehensive and cross-cutting policies, including the development of a National Sustainable Development Strategy and important initiatives on biodiversity, climate change, energy and resource efficiency.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Progress towards sustainable development

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    • Key environmental trends

      During the 2000s, Germany experienced robust performance on many economic and social indicators and continued to improve its overall environmental performance. This chapter provides a snapshot of some key environmental trends in Germany over the decade. It highlights some of the main environmental achievements and the remaining challenges on the path towards a greener economy and sustainable development. This chapter briefly describes Germany’s progress in reducing the carbon, energy and material intensities of its economy; in managing its natural asset base, including its water and biodiversity resources; and in improving the environmental quality of life.

    • Policy-making environment

      Since 2000, Germany has built upon what was an already ambitious environmental policy framework. There has also been a shift from sector-specific to more comprehensive, cross-cutting policies. This chapter reviews the main strategies and initiatives that were launched during the decade in the areas of sustainable development and environmental management, including on biodiversity, water, resource efficiency, energy and climate change. It examines Germany’s environmental governance, the mechanisms in place to improve horizontal and vertical co-ordination, and the instruments used to systematically evaluate the environmental impacts of economic and sectoral policies. Progress in promoting environmental democracy, through open access to information and improved public participation in decision making is also discussed.

    • Towards green growth

      Germany has developed a range of environmental policies that support green growth. The use of economic instruments has been extended to improve pricing of environmental externalities and complement traditionally strict environmental regulations. This chapter examines Germany’s use of taxation policy to pursue environmental objectives and progress in removing fiscal incentives that can encourage environmentally harmful activities. Opportunities to further green fiscal policy are also assessed. The chapter also looks at other pricing mechanisms to implement the polluter-pays and user-pays principles and to recover the cost of providing environmental services. This includes a discussion of public and private investment in environment-related infrastructure. The growth of an internationally competitive environmental goods and services sector is examined along with its potential to serve as a source of economic growth and jobs. Finally, the chapter reviews the international dimensions of Germany’s environmental policy, with a focus on mainstreaming the environment in development co-operation programmes.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Progress towards selected environmental objectives

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    • Environmental innovation

      Germany’s environmental innovation performance has been supported by a strong national innovation framework, a broad industrial base, a high level of participation in international trade, and strict environmental regulations. This chapter discusses the country’s rich experience in promoting innovation to reduce negative environmental impacts. It covers environmental and general innovation policies and the cross-cutting issue of policy co-ordination. Indicators of patenting activity, and examples from different areas such as air and waste management, energy, and transport, are presented. The chapter also analyses policies to promote renewable energy, including feed-in tariffs, which have helped German industry achieve a significant share of domestic and international markets for various renewable energy technologies.

    • Climate change

      Germany is a front-runner in developing solutions to address the challenge of climate change. It managed to considerably reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions over the 2000s and will meet its target under the Kyoto Protocol exclusively through domestic measures. This chapter reviews the policy initiatives implemented over the decade to achieve these results, the institutional and strategic frameworks and the mechanisms in place to monitor implementation. It assesses progress in using market-based instruments such as energy taxes and emission trading; it analyses the effectiveness of measures implemented in the energy and transport sectors, including those to promote renewables, energy efficiency and improved vehicle technologies. The interactions between different policy instruments are also considered. Finally, Germany’s ambitious emission reduction targets to 2020 and beyond are discussed.

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